Rhythms are all around us.. have you noticed? I mentioned in my last blog post about how certain tempos that I walk or do stuff in, trigger a song in my head! It's fun. I'm passing the habit of bursting into song to my children so now, as I'm typing away here, my family is in the next room, playing lego, and each person is humming and singing their own tune. lol. Love it!
Today I want to talked about the rhythms that we can demonstrate in our speech!
When children are unhappy,
and they want you to concede,
rhyming to their rhythms and words
does NOT bring peace, take heed!
A funny little poem that I just threw together for you to consider the ability of words to display rhythms.
I want you to reconsider how you vocalize and mark your exercises when you teach!
As a ballet teacher, you can approach your exercise mathematically as you make sure it's square, or sensibly not square (32+16, or 32 + 8). Once you've created an exercise you know is going to work out, musically, as well as physically, then you need to be prepared to mark and teach it; vocalizing musically as well as rhythmically!
You might be wondering what on earth I'm talking about, and that's fair. It's not talked about a lot once you become a teacher, here is what I mean.
Use your voice and the rhythms of the music to mark the exercise so that even if you have NOT told your students or musician what you want, they can hear it in your voice as you mark your exercise through your use of the music rhythm, relevant words, movement qualities, etc.
Ten-du froooont, stretch that leg...., lead with toes as you're press-ing closed.
Pressing down..to the side.. point and reach and stretch close first.
Ten-du baaaack, hips stay square, smoothly closing heel goes first!
Seconde and close, one more time, demi plie and slowly stretch.
You'll notice I've used movements, positions, verbs, adverbs, directions and one number! What time signature was I thinking? Can you tell? What tempo was I thinking, generally? Can you tell?
The ability to communicate the rhythms and qualities of your exercise, while you're marking it, is brilliant!
When you as a teacher can utilities words and rhythms instead of just numbers in your marking, your students are going to pick up your exercise and it's qualities, quicker. If you have a musician, they're going to know EXACTLY what you want and how fast. When you finish marking, there are no doubts in anyone's minds about what you want, the tempo, the qualities of the movements of your dancers and what the purpose of your exercise is.
Speaking of, did you pick up on the purpose of my exercise? It was quickly thrown together for you to hear the rhythms and qualities, but, for dancers, if I were teaching, the point of it was the use of the floor by the foot! Using the foot and keeping the rotation of the leg. It's not perfect, there is no perfect in this art, lol, but, I wanted to briefly demonstrate what I'm talking about when I'm talking about using your voice to mark musically.
As you're heading back into the studios, or back on Zoom (gag me, am I right?), I want to encourage you to work on this skill. It's not immediately easy, but, as you get comfortable with the idea of using words, as well as numbers, this will become easier and more effective!
P.S. The exercise was a 4/4! Slower tempo. Warm-up tendus. Is that what you guessed?
P.P.S. The Barre Pianist is releasing a brand new music training course on August 15th, 2020, so, if you want to make sure that you hear about it, OR, if you're reading this after the fact and you want to sign up to get notice when the cart opens next, sign up here!
Sign up here to nab your free 3 page PDF guide for ballet teachers who want to be more prepared and capable when it comes to working with a pianist!
(I promise to never, EVER, give or sell your email address to anyone because I wouldn't want that done to me!)
Hey! Great to see you here! Listen, if you're a ballet teacher who loves to learn about music in relation to ballet classes, you're in the right place! Sign up to get a free recording and stay in the loop with monthly newsletters and alerts about new blog posts.